Forsyth Futures Staff

Elizabeth Perkins Lees, M.P.H.

Director of Data and Research

Elizabeth holds a Master of Public Health in Behavioral Science and Health Education from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wake Forest University. Elizabeth also completed a certificate program in socio-contextual determinants of health while at Emory. Her research projects for Forsyth Futures include studies on homelessness, kindergarten readiness, electoral participation, access to health care, and poverty, and she manages the team of Forsyth Futures analysts who fill data requests, complete special issue studies, and maintain and update the indicators.

Adam Hill, M.S.

Director of Data Strategy and Impact

Adam received a Master of Science in Neuroscience from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Binghamton University. Adam’s previous work experience was in the Office of Sustainability at Yale University serving as a research assistant. He is currently performing the data management and research responsibilities for The Forsyth Promise – a community-wide education partnership focused on improving outcomes for children and students from birth to career. In addition, Adam oversees the organization’s work in support of similar data driven initiatives within the community, such as Imagine Forsyth and the Age Friendly Forsyth. He is committed to working in communities and transforming research and data into action that will yield positive outcomes for children and families.

Megan Grigg, M.A.

Community Data Educator

Megan Grigg holds a Master’s degree in Applied Geography from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a background in geographic information science (GIS). Megan has worked within both local government and nonprofit settings, using mapping science to inform a wide variety of projects across many sectors, such as transportation and law enforcement. She has a particular interest in the spatial aspects of data analysis and is passionate about producing action-oriented information that can inform community decision making. At Forsyth Futures, she plays a critical role in bridging the worlds of data and communications, helping to make sure that Forsyth Futures’ reports are accessible, engaging, and action-oriented.

Tyler Sparks

Communications Director

A Forsyth County native, Tyler grew up on his family’s farm, 10 minutes south of Winston-Salem in a small community called Arcadia. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Tyler received a degree in Creative Writing, with concentrations in poetry, design, and publishing. During college, he was active in student media, serving as a writer, reporter, editor, and graphic designer for both the student newspaper and creative magazine, and served in his last two years as Editor-in-Chief.

Post college, Tyler’s first job title was Webmaster and Graphic Designer. Since then he’s worked for agencies, start-ups, tech incubators, non-profits, and himself. He enjoys complex work that requires him to bridge communications, data, strategy, and design in creative ways. He has a passion for building community and social capital and received an ECHO Award from the Winston-Salem Foundation in 2015 for his role as co-founder and President of Sustainable+Ardmore, a non-profit community garden startup.

Tyler joined the Forsyth Futures team full-time in January, 2018. He believes in Forsyth Futures’ mission and its ability to have an immense impact on community outcomes on a local level. Forsyth Futures’ work presents tremendous opportunities and tremendous challenges, which is a space in which Tyler thrives.

Jessica Cannady, M.S.

Imagine Forsyth Data Analyst

Jessica Cannady provides data analysis and general support for Imagine Forsyth. In her capacity as data analyst, she identifies neighborhood-level outcomes and indicators, develops and manages pilot performance measures, engages in relationship building, facilitates discussions around survey findings with neighborhood groups, and monitors feedback loop processes to inform community and organizational efforts. She believes in the importance of data as well as the vital role of relationship building and co-creative processes in each level of Imagine Forsyth’s work. Jessica has over five years of experience as a research assistant, with experience in survey development and implementation, manuscript writing for publication, and practical experience in counseling and domestic violence survivor advocacy and supportive services.

At the core of her work, Jessica seeks to operate from a perspective of equity, recognizing opportunities for organizational development and accountability to our community. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys community organizing around social justice issues, reading, dancing, walking her dog, and experimenting with new dishes and desserts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, as well as a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Theresa Hoffman-Makar, M.P.H.

Age-Friendly Forsyth Data Analyst

Theresa Hoffman-Makar joined the Forsyth Futures team in July 2016. She currently serves as the Data Analyst for Age-Friendly Forsyth, a collective impact initiative that focuses on addressing issue and need areas of adults aged 60 and older in Forsyth County. Prior to her role with Forsyth Futures, she has held positions within two major health systems in this area, Cone Health and Novant Health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication studies with a nutrition minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), as well as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in community health education from UNCG. Additionally, she is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and a Certified Health Coach (CHC).

Theresa grew up in Forsyth County. She is very passionate about helping others, particularly aging adults and people with special needs; her brother is hearing and visually impaired and has been her source of inspiration. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her husband (John), daughter (Mia), and dog (Delila). Her hobbies include running, winning FitBit challenges, binge watching shows, crafting, and shopping.

Joanna Kelly

Data and Research Analyst

Joanna is a Winston-Salem native.  She graduated from Salem College with a Bachelor’s Degree in History concentrated in International Relations.  Later she received a Master’s Degree from Antioch University in Conflict Analysis where her primary focus was on Adult Learning and Development.

Joanna came to Forsyth Futures with an eclectic background.  She has been a Human Resources Manager for a small business, a Halfway House Director for a non-profit (The Hawley House), a Community Development Volunteer for U.S. Peace Corps Moldova, and a Financial Analyst for a major corporation in NYC.  She has helped write a book on conflict analysis, assisted in creating a positive psychology curriculum for kids in South Asia and continues to assist in the development of innovative leadership development programs.  She also continues to volunteer as treasurer and grant writer for Remote Area Medical (RAM) Smyth County, which provides an annual free weekend healthcare clinic in Smyth County, Virginia.

Joanna recently returned to Winston-Salem where she decided to enroll in an online statistics program through Duke University, which landed her at Forsyth Futures.  She is thrilled to be working at Forsyth Futures where she has the opportunity to combine her knowledge and interests in data analysis, research and writing in a highly meaningful and rewarding way.

In her spare time, Joanna enjoys cooking, yoga, live music, dancing, travel, hiking/backpacking, listening to good books and spending time with family, friends and her dog, Ruby.

Shane Orr

Data and Research Analyst

Shane comes to Forsyth Futures having held diverse roles within the public sector. While in the Army, Shane mapped the socio-economic conditions within Iraqi and Afghan villages. He then entered the policy and legal fields as a policy analyst for a state legislature and a staff attorney for a state trial court judge. Prior to joining Forsyth Futures, he worked as a data analyst for Elon University School of Law where he statistically modeled predictors of academic success.

Shane’s experiences in the public sector convinced him that in-depth insights often arrive through data, and his desire to help deliver those insights brought him to Forsyth Futures. In this role, he helps build a stronger community through data-driven decision making. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Central Arkansas. He is currently completing his Masters in Data Analytics from Penn State University.

Katie Mealka

Administrative Assistant